United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING FEDERAL
CLAIMS AND REMANDING TO STATE COURT
C. BRACK SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A on the Complaint (Tort) filed by Plaintiff Nick James
Gonzales in the State of New Mexico, County of Union, Eighth
Judicial District Court, and removed to this Court by
Defendants on May 4, 2018. (Docs. 1; 1-1.)
Court dismisses all of Plaintiff's federal claims,
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, and remands
any state law claims to the State of New Mexico's Eighth
Judicial District Court.
Factual and Procedural Background
Nick James Gonzales filed his pro se Complaint (Tort) in the
State of New Mexico, County of Union, Eighth Judicial
District Court on November 30, 2017. (Doc. 1-1.) Plaintiff is
a prisoner in the custody of the New Mexico Department of
Corrections. At the time he filed his Complaint, Plaintiff
was incarcerated at the Northeastern New Mexico Detention
Facility (“NENMDF”) in Union County, New Mexico.
(Id. ¶ 3.) Gonzales describes the nature of
this action as: “Medical malpractice, negligence,
negligent supervision, willful disregard to patient's
rights and consequences, mental anguish, violation of
statutes and constitution (denial of medical).”
(Id. at 1). Defendants Centurion, Paquin, and Farnum
removed the case to this Court on May 4, 2018. (Doc. 1.)
Defendants claim jurisdiction is proper in this Court based
on the existence of federal questions alleged in
Plaintiff's Complaint. (Id. at 2.) Defendant
Beatty also filed an Answer to the Complaint on May 15, 2018.
filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Response to
Defendants' Answer on May 25, 2018. (Doc. 8.) He also
filed an Objection to Removal and Motion to Remand Complaint
on May 25, 2018. (Doc. 9.) Defendant Beatty filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment on June 7, 2018, claiming that this case
should be dismissed as a matter of law based on Gonzales'
failure to exhaust his prison administrative remedies. (Doc.
12.) Defendant Attorney General filed a Motion to Dismiss,
asserting that the Complaint fails to state any claim and the
Attorney General is an improper party. (Doc. 16.)
Beatty filed a notice with the Court on July 28, 2018,
informing the Court that Plaintiff has been transferred and
is now incarcerated in Hawaii under an interstate compact.
(Doc. 17.) Plaintiff also filed a Notice of Change of
Address, which similarly indicates he is no longer
incarcerated at NENMDF but, instead, is located at a
correctional facility in Eloy Arizona that is used by the
State of Hawaii to house inmates. (Doc. 18.) Plaintiff
alleges claims for violation of his constitutional rights
under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. He claims his
rights to equal protection and to be free from cruel and
unusual punishment have been violated by alleged indifference
to serious medical needs. (Doc. 1-1 at 2, 7.) This is one of
eleven cases that have either been brought as original
proceedings by Plaintiff or removed to this
Court. This is the third case in which Plaintiff
has alleged a violation of his constitutional and state law
rights by prison officials for failure to provide him with
one of the medications to cure his Hepatitis-C disease.
(See Id. 1-1 at 5.) See also Gonzales v. Corizon
Health Care, No. CV 15-00890 WJ/GJF; Gonzales v.
Marcantell, No. CV 16-01275 WJ/LF. Gonzales seeks either
“1 million dollars” or “100, 000 in
compesary (sic) and punitive damages.” (Doc. 1-1 at 9,
10.) Gonzales also requests to be “allowed treatment
for illness and symptoms intended to treat and cure.”
(Id. at 7.)
The Law Regarding Dismissal for Failure to State a
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. The Court may dismiss a claim
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Applying Rule 12(b)(6),
the Court must accept all well-pled factual allegations, but
not conclusory, unsupported allegations, and may not consider
matters outside the pleading. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Dunn v.
White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 1989). The court
may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to
state a claim if “it is ‘patently obvious'
that the plaintiff could not prevail on the facts
alleged.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109
(10th Cir. 1991) (quoting McKinney v. Okla. Dep't of
Human Servs., 925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th Cir. 1991)). A
plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A claim should be
dismissed where it is legally or factually insufficient to
state a plausible claim for relief. Id.
reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court liberally construes
the factual allegations. See Northington v. Jackson,
973 F.2d 1518, 1520-21 (10th Cir. 1992). However, a pro se
plaintiff's pleadings are judged by the same legal
standards that apply to all litigants and a pro se plaintiff
must abide by the applicable rules of court. Ogden v. San
Juan Cty., 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir. 1994). The court
is not obligated to craft legal theories for the plaintiff or
to supply factual allegations to support the plaintiff's
claims. Nor may the court assume the role of advocate for the
pro se litigant. Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.
The Complaint Fails to State a § 1983 Claim
claims that he is being deprived of due process and equal
protection and is suffering infliction of cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Constitution. (Doc. 1-1 at 7.)
Section 1983 is the exclusive vehicle for vindication of
substantive rights under the U.S. Constitution. See Baker
v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979); Albright
v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (Section 1983
creates no substantive rights; rather it is the means through
which a plaintiff may seek redress for deprivations of rights
established in the Constitution); Bolden v. City of
Topeka, 441 F.3d 1129 (10th Cir. 2006). Section 1983
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom or usage of any State . . .subjects or
causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . .
. to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the
party injured in an action at law . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim for relief under
Section 1983, a plaintiff must assert acts by government
officials acting under color of law that result in a
deprivation of rights secured by the United States
Constitution. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). There must be a connection between
official conduct and violation of a constitutional right.
Conduct that is not connected to a constitutional violation
is not actionable under Section 1983. See Trask v.
Franco, 446 F.3d 1036, 1046 (10th Cir. 2006).
a civil rights action against a public official or entity may
not be based solely on a theory of respondeat superior
liability for the actions of co-workers or subordinates. A
plaintiff must plead that each government official, through
the official's own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009). Plaintiff must allege some personal involvement by an
identified official in the alleged constitutional violation
to succeed under Section 1983. Fogarty v. Gallegos,
523 F.3d 1147, 1162 (10th Cir. 2008). In a Section 1983
action, it is particularly important that a plaintiff's
complaint “make clear exactly who is alleged
to have done what to whom, to provide each
individual with fair notice as to the basis of the claim
against him or her.” Robbins v. Oklahoma, ...